If you guys thought that November was an exciting month for the NBA, December was just as exciting if not even more. Players finally have their legs underneath them and the competition is getting much stronger as the season keeps going. Now that the month is officially over, let’s see who was at the top for the last month of the decade!
NBA December: Players of The Month
Giannis Antetokounmpo — Milwaukee Bucks
Once again, Giannis has earned a spot as the player of the month for the East.
And to be completely honest, there’s no one else in the conference that is playing at his level right now. Like I said before, The Greek Freak has a chip on his shoulder and he is here to snatch the NBA with his bare hands and make it his league. The Bucks were on a scorching hot winning streak during this month and it was all praise to the reigning MVP and his dominant performance. I won’t be surprised if Giannis continues to win this award through the rest of the season as his journey to a championship is under construction!
James Harden — Houston Rockets
The NBA’s leading scorer has been on a mission throughout this season. With top-notch performances including three 50 point games in the month of December, it is no question that James Harden deserves the spot for the player of the month.
Harden has been the X-factor for Houston and is the reason why they have the 3rd seed in the Western Conference at the moment. So far, it has been a battle between both Harden and Luka Doncic for the best wing player in the West. But Harden has a leg-up on the sophomore Doncic. And don’t expect Harden to take his foot off the gas. He believes he is deserving of that MVP trophy and he will continue to show us why.
NBA December: Rookies of The Month
Tyler Herro — Miami Heat
Tyler Herro is a great level of talent who is not afraid of the big moment.
Anytime his number is called on the side of the bench, Herro plays his role correctly and puts himself in the right position to help with the team’s success. One of his notable games was hitting a go-ahead shot against the 76ers to put the Heat up 1 with 6 seconds remaining in regulation.
Herro’s court play has earned the respect of the Miami franchise from Jimmy Butler to Erik Spolestra. We can’t wait to see what Herro has next in his bag as he is ready to put the world on notice on who he is.
Ja Morant — Memphis Grizzlies
Morant lands this spot once again! Although he was sidelined for some time due to an injury, he hasn’t missed a beat since coming back and he is playing with consistent poise and assertiveness in his first season in the NBA.
Zion Williamson has been sidelined all season long. So, Morant has carried the load amongst top rookies in the West. Right now, he’s my number one pick for Rookie of the Year. Ja is a walking highlight reel and has been a key factor for this rebuilding Grizzlies team to compete for a playoff position. We expect more from this young man as the season goes on. I am sure he won’t disappoint.
NBA December: Team of The Month
The Milwaukee Bucks
After falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has taken this Milwaukee team to another level.
Alongside outstanding play from the reigning MVP in Giannis, the Bucks have been able to get production out of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, and others. The system that Coach Bud puts his guys under forces them to move the ball around creating great shot opportunities. The Bucks are one of the highest three-point shooting teams in the league. And it all comes from their ball movement and good shot opportunities. This team has had an 18 game winning streak. They are competitive. I don’t see the Bucks slowing down anytime soon and they will continue to fight for the crown as the best team in the NBA.
The Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City lost Russell Westbrook and Paul George this summer. Everyone expected OKC franchise to be in rebuild mode and focus on the future. Instead, after a tough November, this team appears to making a run for the playoffs.
The team is accepting Chris Paul’s veteran leadership, and he has benefitted from young talent in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroeder. With their impressive performances for the month, the Thunder have brought their defensive rankings up. They are one of the top 15 defensive teams in the league coming into 2020. Some of their impressive wins this month have been against the Clippers and a comeback victory against the Dallas Mavericks. Expect nothing less of this team as they carry their momentum into the All-Star Break. The world needs to know that OKC is here to stay and they will make their mark on the league this season.
NBA December: Game of The Month
December 16 — Mavericks 120 over Bucks 116
Milwaukee came into this game blazing hot with their 18 game winning streak while Dallas was fresh off a loss to the Miami Heat while losing their star Luka Doncic with an ankle injury.
The odds were in favor of the Bucks this game. But that didn’t faze Dallas at all. At the beginning of the game, Dallas came out firing on all cylinders.
They were sharing the ball on offense, getting good looks at the three-point line along with playing solid defense. Dallas held Milwaukee to 42% shooting for the game.
By the fourth quarter, the game looked just about over. Milwaukee was getting outhustled by Dallas on both ends of the floor.
But something sparked this team all of a sudden.
With Giannis sitting on the bench, potentially the rest of the game, the Milwaukee bench players started to slowly climb back into the game. Milwaukee’s Coach Bud brought Giannis back in the game to try to aid in the onslaught of Milwaukee energy and offense.
Despite bringing the lead down as close as 3, it was the Mavs who would hang onto the win, snapping Milwaukee’s 18 game winning streak.
Giannis lead all scorers in the game with 48 points for Milwaukee.
After struggling through the first part of the season, Kristaps Porzingis stepped up big time with the absence of Luka Doncic.
The 7-foot star poured in 26 points while Seth Curry delivered 26 points off the bench to give Dallas a well-rounded offensive spread.
This was a big win for the Mavericks after losing their star player to injury. The momentum carried the team through the next couple of games too.
NBA December: Top 3 Plays of the Month
3. LeBron James slam over Gorgui Dieng
2. Tyler Herro Clutch 3-pointer vs 76ers
1. Ja Morant slam over Aaron Baynes
NBA December: Conclusion
December was filled with highlights and clutch baskets from all around the league. These players are now two months into the season. And it is clear they have their legs under them. As the season progresses, games will only get better and more competitive as the playoffs approach. Teams are fighting to find a spot in each conference. Tune in next time as January gives us nothing but bigger and better results than the past two months.
Written By Nick Andre. Edited By W.D. Herstun.
Personally, I am enjoying watching Ja Morant. And I can’t wait to see what else is in store from him. NBA December is just the beginning of the juicy part of the season. Wait until after the All-Star Break!
On a completely different note, BAL or Basketball African League is making some exciting announcements to start 2020.
“The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) as the host cities where the inaugural BAL regular season will take place and Kigali (Rwanda) as the host city for the first-ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final.NBA.com
Additionally, the BAL announced NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin play in March 2020.”
Maybe we will have Nick Andre cover some of that for us too. Stay tuned. Much more basketball to come every month on our Herstun Hoops: Look Back!